To those of you who don't pay attention to Canadian politics, you really should right now. This is one of the most interesting times in Canadian political history. Right now 2 of the national parties, the NDP and the Liberal Party have forged a coalition deal that would, when the confidence vote fails (it's only a matter of time Harper, just deal with it) create a coalition government led by the Liberals. (You can read the accord here.) The Bloc Québécois is not formally part of this coalition, but has pledged their support for the next 18 months. (If only we could have Gilles as PM. *sigh*). Not only that, but Green Party leader Elizabeth May has also lent her support to the coalition. That means that 4 of the 5 major parties are UNITED behind this effort. And they have all made concessions. (As one does when one makes alliances like this. And also as one does to actually get shit done in government.)
Let me take a step back. Besides being evil, or as Gilles Duceppe likes to do let's just say that Harper is the Canadian Bush, Harper did a few things to bring this on. He did what every politician does and said that he would make an effort to work with the other parties, then he calls an election (which he said he would not call, btw) and the first thing he does is spit on the other parties. (Well, more accurately poke at them with a sharp stick.)
This is in no particular order, but has a common theme.
1) Proposes to take away public subsidies of political parties. As it stands now, each vote earns the party $1.95.
But because the Conservatives have such a strong fundraising base, their subsidy represents only 37 per cent of the party's total revenues.
By comparison, the subsidy amounts to 63 per cent of the Liberals' funding, 86 per cent of the Bloc's, 57 per cent of the NDP's and 65 per cent of the Greens'.
So who gets hurt? Every single party in opposition to the Conservatives.
Well there are several points in this one link so here's the link and here are the points:
2) Cutting public service pay
3) Suspending the right to strike for federal employees
4) (My favourite) PAY EQUITY! Who needs it!
And he would put a crimp in pay equity – a program that requires Ottawa to pay women equal wages for work of equal value – although there is no evidence that the current system is either iniquitous or expensive.
And then there's the Tories taping a private caucus call of the NDP. (Hello, ever hear of Watergate?)
The Prime Minister's Office handed out copies of the recording to reporters on Sunday, claiming it showed the NDP and the Bloc Québécois had long conspired to topple the Conservative government.
And there's also that whole thing where Harper and the Tories like to insult the Bloc at every opportunity. (Because they're evil and THEY HATE CANADA AND ARE TRYING TO DESTROY THE COUNTRY! HIDE YOUR CHILDREN! THE QUÉBÉCOIS ARE COMING!)
One poke too far? Did he seriously think that a *larger* minority in Commons would somehow make the opposition go against the Charter of Rights? That they would let you bulldoze through them doing whatever the hell you wanted? Yet he continues to show that he thinks that getting several more seats for the Tories makes him able to do whatever he wants without the confidence of the Commons. There was supposed to be a confidence vote that Harper put off until the 8th trying to stave off the inevitable. What happens now is up to the Governor-General. She has several (historic) options: If Mr Harper asks her to prorogue (all bills, motions, etc are expunged and the parliament is in recess), her likely response is to ask him to prove that he has the confidence of the House. He can’t do that, so he’ll either have to ask for an election or resign. If he asks for an election, she can’t really grant it to him given that she has a letter from the coalition - according to convention she pretty much has to allow the coalition an opportunity to demonstrate that they can govern. An election will be the last resort. This is what I'm hoping for and this is what historically happens. But we shall see, not won't we.
To see *exactly* what's been happening may I suggest CPAC (It's the Canadian CSPAN). December 1st's Question Period (I hope this works as a direct link to the video if not just search) is rather good and December 2nd's is even better. It was all over the news as this is a rather historic time in politics and times like these have never been seen in Canadian Parliament. (At least not broadcast.)
BRING IT HARPER!
Of course they want the prorogue, because it would give them more time to spread their lies. They're calling the opposition alliance and possible unseating of the Tory government an undemocratic, illegal coup. As one expert said Harper either doesn't know parliamentary politics or he's lying. I know which one my money's on. They're also saying that the separatists are going to be running the nation. Um, well, no, the Bloc is not part of the coalition and Duceppe already said that he pledged to support and do what's best for CANADA during the next 18 months under the coalition government. Again I say OH NOES! THE SEPARATISTS ARE RUNNING THE COUNTRY! OMG CANADA IS DOOMED! During the 12/1 Question Period session Harper kept saying that they refused to sign the Coalition Accord in front of a Canadian flag when there's a lot of footage of them IN FRONT of a Canadian flag. The guy just can't stop lying. Here's to a new government and soon.
But for some brevity (and common sense) in this situation may I suggest Canadian Cynic and Bloodless Coup!.